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Effects of vitamin E and C supplementation on oxidative stress and viral load in HIV-infected subjects.

Allard JP; Aghdassi E; Chau J; Tam C; Kovacs CM; Salit IE; Walmsley SL
AIDS 1998 Sep 10;12(13):1653-9

OBJECTIVES: The HIV-infected population is known to be oxidatively stressed and deficient in antioxidant micronutrients. Since in vitro replication of HIV is increased with oxidative stress, this study assessed the effect of antioxidant vitamin supplementation on lipid peroxidation, a measure of oxidative stress, and viral load in humans. DESIGN: A randomized placebo-controlled, double-blind study. METHODS: Forty-nine HIV-positive patients were randomized to receive supplements of both DL-alpha-tocopherol acetate (800 IU daily) and vitamin C (1000 mg daily), or matched placebo, for 3 months. Plasma antioxidant micronutrient status, breath pentane output, plasma lipid peroxides, malondialdehyde and viral load were measured at baseline and at 3 months. New or recurrent infections for the 6-month period after study entry were also recorded. RESULTS: The vitamin group (n = 26) had an increase in plasma concentrations of alpha-tocopherol (P < 0.0005) and vitamin C (P < 0.005) and a reduction in lipid peroxidation measured by breath pentane (P < 0.025), plasma lipid peroxides (P < 0.01) and malondialdehyde (P < 0.0005) when compared with controls (n = 23). There was also a trend towards a reduction in viral load (mean +/- SD changes over 3 months, -0.45 +/- 0.39 versus +0.50 +/- 0.40 log10 copies/ml; P = 0.1; 95% confidence interval, -0.21 to -2.14). The number of infections reported was nine in the vitamin group and seven in the placebo group. CONCLUSION: Supplements of vitamin E and C reduce oxidative stress in HIV and produce a trend towards a reduction in viral load. This is worthy of larger clinical trials, especially in HIV-infected persons who cannot afford new combination therapies.

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